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Archive for the ‘Demographics’ Category

“When you think of America’s western mountain states, what comes to mind? Wide, open spaces? Majestic peaks? Infinite blue skies? Pervasive lack of investment in pre-K?”

“Five states—Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Wyoming—still do not provide any state funding towards pre-K. And all but one of the five are in the mountainous west.”

“This region’s failure to act on pre-K may be accounted for by a combination of the following factors:

• Political and cultural values that put an emphasis on libertarian ideals of government

• Low percentage of children in single-parent households

• Low poverty rates

• Low population density

“While none of these factors alone can explain these states’ lack of investment in pre-K, taken together, they may help to describe the unique environment that exists there—one that lends itself to inaction when it comes to pre-K.”

“One Part of the Country Still Doesn’t Invest in Pre-K. Here’s Why.” By David Loewenberg, New America Weekly, October 20, 2016

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Average cost of child care across the states. Screenshot: New America's website

Average cost of child care across the states. Image: New America’s website

What’s the state of child care in today’s America, which is no longer the land of the “Leave it to Beaver” breadwinner-homemaker family?

To find out, the newly released Care Report and the accompanying Care Index look at all 50 states and the district of Columbia to assess three categories: cost, quality, and availability.

The bad news: “no single state does well in all three categories. Instead, families, providers, and policymakers in every state make difficult compromises that often shape family decisions and can determine the course of children’s futures.”

That’s a problem in today’s America where “in a majority of families with children under 18, all parents work for pay outside the home. That means, on any given day, about 12 million children under the age of five will need a safe place to go and someone loving to care for them.”

The report and the index were produced by the think tank New America and by Care.com, the website that links families to care providers, in conjunction with other organizations. (more…)

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 Black public preschool children are suspended from school at high rates: Black preschool children are 3.6 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as white preschool children.

• Black children represent 19% of preschool enrollment, but 47% of preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions; in comparison, white children represent 41% of preschool enrollment, but 28% of preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions.

• Black boys represent 19% of male preschool enrollment, but 45% of male preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions.

• Black girls represent 20% of female preschool enrollment, but 54% of female preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions.

 

Most public preschool children suspended are boys: While boys represent 54% of preschool enrollment, they represent 78% of preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions.

 

From the “2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC),” a report released by the U.S. Department of Education, June 7, 2016

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“At a time when cities across the country have long waiting lists for every seat in free, quality preschool programs, Detroit has a different problem: hundreds of unused seats.

“Of the 4,895 seats that the federal government funds for Head Start programs in Detroit, nearly 800 are empty because providers have struggled to fill and open classrooms.

“That means that in a city where 94,000 children live in poverty and where the need for licensed childcare reportedly exceeds availability by more than 23,000 kids, many children who could benefit from early education aren’t getting it.”

“But while Detroit’s problems are more severe than elsewhere, the city also has an unusual solution: a remarkable collaboration among local philanthropies to expand early childhood programs that has boosted the number of children enrolled by 20 percent in just the last year.”

From “Money’s not enough: The unconventional way Detroit is filling Head Start classrooms,” by Erin Einhorn, Chalkbeat Detroit, May 26, 2016

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Robert Putnam was back on WGBH several weeks ago talking about the hurdles that many children from poorer families can face.

As we blogged last year, Putnam’s book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” looks at “the inequality gap in the United States, drawing on both Putnam’s personal experiences and his academic research.” Putnam is a professor of public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

For his book, Putnam returned to his hometown of Port Clinton, Ohio. What he found was a local example of national trend: Wealth matters much now than it did when Putnam was young. Poorer children are struggling more.

“… all of these kids in this book are heart-rending stories because they – through no fault of their own – find themselves in circumstances in which they don’t have a chance in life, honestly. And they did nothing to cause that problem,” Putnam tells WGBH radio hosts Margery Eagan and Jim Braude.

Putnam spoke of Andrew and Kayla, two children in his book who live several miles apart, but exist in different universes. Andrew’ world is wealthy and stable, while Kayla faces poverty and greater vulnerability to upheaval. (Putnam’s section of the radio show runs from 1:18:49 to roughly 1:45:53.) (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

California has plenty of sunshine, beaches, and cable cars, but not enough children in preschool.

More than 33,000 4-year-olds from low-income families and some 137,000 3-year-olds “are not enrolled in any of the publicly-funded school readiness program for which they are eligible,” according to a new policy brief — Unmet Need for Preschool Services in California: Statewide and Local Analysis — from the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

“California is home to more young children than any other state in the nation, and we are missing an opportunity to reduce achievement gaps when they are best addressed – before children start kindergarten,” Deborah Kong, the president of the advocacy organization Early Edge California, said in a press release. “The high number of unserved children shows state policies and investments must catch up to their unmet needs. Policymakers should consider the children and families behind the statistics in this report, and increase investments in quality early education.” (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

“Americans do not know that up to a million childcare teachers today are at-risk for functional illiteracy,” Elizabeth Gilbert explains in a recent Washington Post blog.

These adults can end up “mirroring” their social disadvantages to the children they work with, according to Gilbert, who is the coordinator of the “Learn at Work Early Childhood Educator Program Labor” in the Labor Management Workplace Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

As we blogged last year, Gilbert is calling for dynamic change.

“After working for nearly two decades in community-based childcare settings in disadvantaged communities in Massachusetts, mirrors became a way for me to comprehend what I was seeing, and to capture and reveal this world in a way that others could understand,” Gilbert writes in the Post blog. (more…)

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